On July 14, 2016, PBS NewsHour featured a televised interview with Russell Beck in a story titled “A national movement against employee noncompete contracts picks up steam.”

The story, reported by Duarte Geraldino, addresses the controversy over the use of noncompete agreements. A central focus of the story is the propriety of noncompete agreements for low-wage workers.

In Russell’s interview, he describes how non-compete agreements can be used to protect trade secrets, like “[r]ecipes for cookies, profit margins, customer lists.” Russell added that “[b]illions of dollars of trade secrets are stolen on an annual basis, and there needs to be some mechanism for protecting them.”

Russell’s interview concludes with a comment that noncompetition agreements are not designed to be used “as a retention tool.”

PBS NewsHour also published a companion article titled “What you should know about noncompete agreements.” The article contains an edited transcript of Russell Beck’s entire interview.

In the article, Russell explains how companies decide whether to enforce noncompete agreements:

Different companies will enforce noncompetes for different reasons. Some will enforce them to protect their trade secrets. Some companies will enforce them to protect what are called other legitimate business interests — the protection of customer relationships that a company has invested in.

When a company comes to me and asks me whether they should enforce their noncompete, I will take a look at the agreement, understand what the facts are and advise them as to whether they should enforce it or shouldn’t enforce it. Oftentimes companies will assume that they are going to move forward with the enforcement of a noncompete, only to find out that really they shouldn’t be moving forward with it for one reason or another. Either the employee doesn’t really pose a risk, or the agreement is just not valid for some other reason.

It really comes down to the particular language of the agreement and the state that you’re in, because the jurisdiction that will control the enforcement of the agreement and may have laws that will make it hard to enforce in one state, whereas in another state it might actually be enforceable.

The full segment can be viewed below:

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements and trade secrets in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience. The Wall Street Journal has featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

In May 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” also relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his ‘impeccable credentials,’ in the employment arena, and identify him as an ‘expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.